Tag: road rage

Coffee Consumption Can Prevent Car Damage

Hope that post title caught your attention!  It's true.  And if you're skeptical, just read on.

This morning I made an unscheduled trip to my local Dunkin' Donuts for a heart-clogging treat breakfast sandwich & coffee.  The drive-through line appeared a bit shorter than the mass of people inside clamoring for sustenance of the sugary sort, so I decided to remain in my automobile and continue listening to my podcast of Spider on the Web. There were about four cars in front of me waiting to spout orders to the faceless speaker box that consistently garbles my orders, but the one that drew my attention was the one just before me in line – a black sporty Saturn coupe.

The woman within was obviously in a hurry – I mean, after all, who else would simultaneously be applying makeup, talking on a cell phone, AND honking their horn at the car ahead of them (indicating it should move up to close the half-car gap between it and the car in front of it)?  I guess the guy in the old piece-of-crap car decided she was in a hurry, too, and that she deserved to take his spot.  Because he backed up, bumping squarely into her front bumper, and then pulled out around the other cars in line, apparently intent on leaving the line and presumably, the lot.

As you might expect, Ms. Patience took umbrage to this action, and peeled out after the beater, honking her horn incessantly to flag him down.  Whether she planned to extract revenge with a pair of tweezers or a call to her lawyer I could not say, but the look of determination on her face as she zipped around the building made me sure she would achieve her goal, whatever it was.

A movement in my rear-view mirror caught my eye and I looked back to see Mr. Fed-Up circle around and pull into a handicapped spot at a diagonal, Ms. Patience hot on his heels.  She pulled her car up behind him so the nose of her car was blocking him in, and started lowering her window to give him a piece of her mind.  What she planned to say next was quickly driven from her mind as she watched Mr. Fed-Up put his car into reverse, back up directly into the front corner of her car hard enough to make both cars rock on their wheels, and then pull in more-or-less straight into one of the parking spots.

It was at this point that the two participants in this little automobile ballet got out of their cars and confronted each other.  I paused long enough to make sure they were going to interact verbally instead of physically, and just about the time I saw Ms. Patience get on her phone to call the police, I had to pull forward (and out of line-of-sight) in order to give my own breakfast order.

I made sure to circle the building once more after I got my food a few minutes later, checking to make sure that neither one was going to go postal on the other.  Ms. Patience had pulled into another parking space and was sitting patiently, waiting for the police.  Mr. Fed-Up appeared to have gone inside, probably thinking that if he had to sit around waiting for the police to show up, he might as well do it with a coffee & donut in hand.  I hope he bought an extra half-dozen for the responding officer(s) – it probably wouldn't help his case any, but at least it wouldn't hurt it.

As I drove off, I couldn't help but think about how strong the addiction to caffeine can be.  Before their morning cuppa joe, most people are sleepy, irate, dazed, slow, or depressed, and more often than not, all of the above.  And then, I wonder just how many accidents or attacks of road rage like the one I experienced this morning could have been easily avoided with the judicious application of a decent cup of Maxwell House.

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Road Rage – How Do You Stack Up?

I was driving to work today when I realized there quite a few people out there driving like maniacs.  If my wife is reading this, she'll be saying, "Ross, you're one to talk!"  But seriously, there are some crazy drivers out there on the highways. 

With that in mind, I thought I'd help all you Voxers out there with a little quiz I put together to find out where you stand with respect to Road Rage.  Hopefully you'll find the results informative.  Post your scores in the comments, if you do decide to take the quiz – I'd like to see how people pan out.

Note: This quiz is a bit U.S. centric with discussions about right/left lanes and MPH and such.  Please adjust as necessary for your country of residence.

The 10-Question Road Rage Quiz
by Ross Goldberg

1. You are being tailgated while you are in the left lane.  What do you do?

  •     A) Move back into the right lane when you can.  You were just passing someone, anyway.
  •     B) Maintain your speed.  Since you're going the speed limit, everyone else should too.
  •     C) Brake/slow down to make sure the idiot behind you gets the point.  Bonus points if you prevent them from changing lanes to get around you!

2. You find someone driving slowly (lower than the speed limit or surrounding traffic) in the right lane.  What do you do?

  •     A) When safe, merge into the passing lane and pass the individual, changing back to the right lane when it is safe to do so.
  •     B) Who cares?  You're already in the passing lane, you'll just stay here and breeze on by.
  •     C) Change from the left to right lane just to cut that sucker off.  After all, they're a safety hazard if they're driving that slow, aren't they?  Maybe they'll realize they need to speed up a bit when they see you zoom off in front of them.

3. You find someone driving slowly (lower than the speed limit or surrounding traffic) in the left lane.  What do you do?

  •     A) You're in the right lane already – you'll just stay here and keep an eye out in case they try to get back over into the right lane while you are passing them.
  •     B) They shouldn't be there, but you'll just go around them.  You will signal lane changes if you feel like it.
  •     C) Tailgate the idiot, possibly flashing your headlights at them to move.  When they don't get out of the way fast enough, swerve over into the right lane, accelerating and cutting them off as you pass them.  Bonus points if you then slow down to teach that sucker a lesson and force them to get out of the fast lane.

4. The majority of the traffic around you:

  •     A) Is traveling at the same speed you are traveling at.  Some people do some dumb things but you are aware enough of the situation to act defensively to avoid accidents.
  •     B) Is traveling slower than you are, but they're not a problem.  You make it through just fine, barring the times someone decides to drive in the wrong @#$^$%& lane.
  •     C) Is composed of idiots who never learned how to drive properly.  You use your mad driving skills to make it through the mess they cause on the roads.  Occasionally you have to teach them a lesson to show them what they should be doing, too.

5. You feel angry in the car when:

  •     A) Almost never.  You try not to get angry on the road – you need your concentration to drive safely.
  •     B) Only occasionally, when people do stupid things like cut you off or act like assholes and tailgate you, etc.
  •     C) Any time someone gets in your way, drives below the speed limit, tailgates you, applies makeup while driving, doesn't seem to know where they're going, talks on their cell phone while driving, brakes suddenly, takes too long to accelerate, takes too long to pass someone, doesn't merge properly, doesn't use turn signals, has a stupid bumper sticker, etc.

6. You're at a red light with one person in front of you.  How long do you wait before honking your horn when it turns green?
  

  •     A) Give them a chance to realize the light is green.  If it appears they're not paying attention after about 3-4 seconds, give the horn a polite tap.
  •     B) They should be paying attention.  If it looks like they're not, honk as soon as you see the green.  They'll thank you for the tip.
  •     C) Huh?  There's nobody in front of you.  You cut over into the other lane at the last minute so nobody would be in front of you at the light.  Otherwise, you'd probably have to lay on the horn to get them to move when the light turns green, and you didn't feel like getting pissed off by something so stupid as that today.

7. You come to a 4-way stop intersection.  You:

  •     A) Wait your turn.  If anyone stopped at the same time as you, the individual on the left goes first, but you've been known to wave them through to avoid confusion.
  •     B) Wait your turn.  If someone stopped at the same time as you, you take advantage of their momentary pause to start moving – they'll let you go once they see you going.
  •     C) Let any cars in the intersection finish their turns.  Start moving as soon as the intersection is relatively clear – everyone else will throw up their hands in frustration but who cares?  You're moving again, baby.

8. You're searching for a parking space and spy one halfway down a row of cars, only to see someone approaching from the other direction who appears to also be looking for a space.  You:

  •     A) Proceed to the spot, putting on your turn signal, and wait for them to drive past the spot so you can pull in.  If they already have their signal on, you do the same for them – they "called it" first.
  •     B) Speed up a bit so you can get to the spot first.  Put on your signal, but mostly as a formality – you're getting this space whether they saw it first or not.
  •     C) Speed up and pull partway into the spot so they have no choice but to keep moving.  Wait for them to squeeze by your half-parked car and then back-and-fill until you can fit into the spot.  Yes!  Another conquest achieved due to your elite driving skills!

9. The part of your car most likely to wear out first is:

  •     A) The tires.  Not for any special reason – just normal wear-and-tear of the road means you'll have to replace them when the tread is worn out, which should be sometime in the next 10,000 miles.
  •     B) It's a tie between the brakes and the transmission.  It seems like your drives consist of slamming on the brakes to avoid the idiots and then gunning it when you're past them.
  •     C) The horn.  You've already had to replace it twice since you bought your car.

10. Which of these statements would you say best describes your opinion regarding the kind of people who would answer A, B, or C to most of the above questions:

  •     A) People who answer A to most of the questions are good defensive drivers.  People who answer B seem like they're a little reckless, and people who answer C are maniacs just counting the minutes until their big car accident.
  •     B) People who answer A to most of the questions are annoying and I end up having to maneuver to get around them on the road.  But I prefer them to the people who answered C, who are just assholes.  Sometimes I want to crash my car into theirs just to teach them a lesson – hey, I'm insured, it's no big deal, right?
  •     C) People who answer A need to get the stick out of their butts and start driving right.  Show me that guy who answered B – I'm going to kick his ass for wanting to crash into my car…hope he has MEDICAL insurance too!

Road Rage Results – Where Do You Stand?

Tally your scores!  For each answer A, give yourself 1 point.  For each answer B, give yourself 3 points.  For each answer C, give yourself 5 points.

10-20 points:  You're the kind of student every Driver's Ed teacher wanted to have.  You probably have a perfect driving record, low insurance rates, and watch your cholesterol and blood pressure, too.  You're safe on the road – just watch out for all those crazies out there.  I wouldn't recommend driving in a big city though – you'll end up with permanent finger marks embedded in the steering wheel from your white-knuckle grip.

21-29 points: You're still a pretty safe driver.  You get irked occasionally, but nothing that affects your driving.    At worst, you have to remind yourself to take a deep breath occasionally.  Keep on the lookout for road-ragers and avoid them as best you can.

30-40 points: You're a little dangerous on the road.  Other people may see you as a little scary or irresponsible.  Try to remind yourself to take it down a notch when you get behind the wheel.  A couple extra minutes on the road won't kill you, and might actually save you from a brain aneurysm down the line.

41-49 points: Watch it buddy – you're a resident of Road Rage City.  If one of your actions doesn't cause you to get in an accident, it'll probably cause one in the people around you.  Increase your meds and try slowing down to everyone else's speed on the road.  If you find you still need to get some aggression out, take up racketball or boxing.

50 points: You are the spokes-model for Road Rage.  Nobody wants to encounter you on the road (and no, that's not a good thing).  It's only matter of time until you get pulled over by the cops or end up totaling your car.  Take preemptive action – trade in your sports car for a Kia, install a governor that won't let you get above 65 MPH, start attending some therapy sessions, and/or start taking public transportation.  You'll thank me in the long run (but in the meantime, no, I will NOT give you my address so you can come over and kick my ass, thank you very much).

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